Following enthusiastic shouts of “Make us proud, dude!” and “Hey everyone, that’s my roommate!” bellowed by some hyped-up members of the audience, Josh Behrens, MCAS ’18, gave a brief salute to his supporters and sauntered up to his spot at the microphone. Once the cheers and lighthearted laughter had subsided, Behrens quietly cleared his throat. Behind him huddled the remaining members of the Boston College Acoustics, keeping their eyes trained on president Matt Michienzie, MCAS ’17, to give them their cue.
On Saturday night, McGuinn 121 played host to the annual Acoustics Spring Cafe, its theme a witty wordplay on the absurd 2006 action-thriller Snakes on a Plane. The co-ed a cappella group regaled its audience with debut performances, entertaining covers of popular songs and comical skits strewn throughout the night’s rather extensive program. Thanks to the high-energy atmosphere provided by the fun-loving group, “Stix on a Plane” was this weekend’s must-see music event.
A debut duet of The Civil Wars’ song “Barton Hollow” kicked off the show with a comforting, folksy vibe. The soulful vocals of Keri DiBattista, MCAS ’17, and Alex Rougeau, MCAS ’18, made for a perfect opening performance that established the mellow tone necessary to silence a chatty audience and captivate everyone’s attention. The duet invited the audience to sit back, relax, and settle in for a night of powerful vocal riffs and infectious background beats.
The show was strewn with special performances of popular songs that encouraged audience members to sing along with the skilled a cappella crooners. The “Girls’ Project,” a medley of Miley Cyrus’ greatest hits complete with blonde wigs and wacky costumes, was an entertaining interpretation of Cyrus’ transformation from innocent country sweetheart to the wild and rebellious pop star she is today. Not to be outdone, the guys in the group matched their female counterparts’ efforts to create an inventive medley all their own—this time, however, the performance featured a collection of theme songs from America’s most beloved television series.’
The debut performances won the night, for the the fresh, new songs sung by various Acoustics members showcased the group’s vocal diversity and impressive versatility. The chosen tracks perfectly complemented each featured singer’s unique style. Margaret Dauer, CSON ’18, quieted the room with an empowered rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “Bright Lights and Cityscapes” that showed off the sophomore’s impressive vocal range. Hailey Reinhart’s “Hit the Ground Runnin’” was yet another impressive debut. The yearning tone and emotion-heavy performance by Kayley Okst, MCAS ’19, met with thunderous applause and a series of hugs from her fellow Acoustics.
Dispersed throughout the performance were short skits meant to break some of the somber songs with a little comic relief. Following along with the night’s Snakes on A Plane theme, the skits playfully poked fun at some of BC’s other a cappella crews, as well as at the Acoustics themselves. One of these scenes features a visibly shaken Michienzie, who slips into his best George Bush-turned commercial pilot impression and frantically informs Snakes actor Samuel L. Jackson (played by Rougeau) of some shady shenanigans onboard. “There’s a Yankee a cappella group from up north causing trouble on this plane,” Michienzie shouts, “and I need you to save the day.”
Of all the impressive covers and medleys, Behrens’ enthusiastic performance of Billy Joel’s classic “Piano Man” perfectly encompassed everything the a cappella crew is about. Swinging the microphone stand around the stage in a flurry of exaggerated emotion and genuine enjoyment, Behrens seemed as though he was having the time of his life. Enthusiastic, teeming with talent, and just plain fun, Behrens’ performance perfectly embodied the jubilant Acoustics spirit—one that fuses the passion and lightheartedness so integral to the a cappella group’s identity.
The Acoustics delivered an array of wonderful performances, each song vastly different from those that came before it. The group tends to jump drastically from genre to genre, bravely treading into virtually every music genre imaginable. “We ‘Stix’ pride ourselves on the diversity of our repertoire,” the group’s facebook description proclaims, explaining their style accurately as “wailing away on ’70s rock, ’80s pop, ’90s jams, and millennial miscellany.”
And boy, does this group deliver.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor